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Washington Beat: House Republicans Blast Mayor's Stance on Charter Schools

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TWC News: Washington Beat: House Republicans Blast Mayor's Stance on Charter Schools
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While Mayor Bill de Blasio's name did not come up at a hearing on charter schools in Washington on Wednesday, some of the comments made by the Republican-led committee were clearly directed at him. Washington reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report.

New York City wasn't mentioned once, nor was the mayor who has come under fire for his decision on charter schools. But at a hearing on Wednesday, it was clear Mayor de Blasio was on the mind of the Republican chair of the House panel that oversees education.

"Recent news highlights the challenges the charter school model faces, said Rep. John Kline of Minnesota.

Congressman Kline's statement was tame compared to what House Speaker John Boehner said after the hearing concluded.

In a statement, he said, "Unfortunately, opponents of education reform, including the mayor of New York City, continue to attack common sense efforts to empower parents and provide underprivileged children with a quality education. Instead of attacking them, the mayor ought to have their backs."

In recent weeks and months, de Blasio has become a target of Republicans. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has accused the mayor of waging a war on children and has suggested he might hold hearings looking into de Blasio's charter school policies.

At the hearing Wednesday, all of the witnesses were charter school boosters and they were praised by Republicans on the panel.

"Charter Schools are helping students who need it most," said Deborah McGriff of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

"It's just amazing what I'm hearing, and Mr Linzey, job well done," said Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee.

In recent years, Democrats have also become big supporters of charter schools. But there were some critical questions from them about whether charter schools are draining resources from traditional public schools.

"This is not to knock charter schools, this is to question why it is we seem to be moving head long in a support of charter schools at the expense of traditional public schools," said Rep. Tim Bishop of Long Island.

Charter schools represent, according to the Federal Department of Education, about five percent of public schools. But it's a number that continues to grow as charter schools monopolize the attention of lawmakers.

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